Employees salvage unsaleable vegetables

Approximately a third of all food produced in Switzerland goes to waste between farm and fork. The “Foodoo” campaign aims to change that and is turning unsaleable vegetables into a delicious stock. Our Swiss Post Trainee Timertie Yosief took part in the event and tells us, why chopping veggies is good for the climate.

Timertie Yosief
Blog

Lots of carrots are lying on a table. Several people are peeling them to make a stock paste.
600 kg of unsaleable vegetables were peeled at the FOODOO event. (Copyright: Nora Grütter Shobha)

As a trainee in the Corporate Responsibility department within the Communication unit at Swiss Post, I already engage with sustainability in my everyday work. That’s why a campaign like “FOODOO” particularly appeals to me: FOODOO buys non-standard or imperfect vegetables from farmers to ensure that they are not thrown away. These are used to make delicious FOODOO products, including vegetable stock. As part of the “Salvage vegetables” campaign, Swiss Post employees had the opportunity to turn unsaleable vegetables into stock.

The vegetable stock paste is poured into small blue containers.

I was really happy to be part of this vegetable stock campaign here at EspacePost. My thoughts: what a fantastic idea. By the way, making stock yourself is really easy. More importantly, we were able to salvage 600 kg of vegetables which would otherwise have ended up sitting around on Pascal Gutknecht’s farm. Here are the results in figures: 2,636 glasses of vegetable stock, each weighing 220 g, which are now being used to make tasty dishes at participating restaurants.

Active even as a student

This wasn’t the first campaign of this kind that I have taken part in: when I was studying psychology at university, I campaigned for better awareness of food consumption in the home with the Madame Frigo association. This project provides community fridges which can be used by anyone who is interested, ensuring any food that is still edible but no longer required can be put in the fridge at any time. And of course, people can also take products home with them. This way, everyone involved helps to reduce food waste in Switzerland – see the fantastic vegetable stock campaign.

Who exactly is Timertie Yosief?

My roots are in Eritrea. My parents fled to Europe in the 1980s, before the outbreak of the War of Independence between Eritrea and Ethiopia. I was born and raised in Berne, which is my home. Even as a little boy, I was taught the value of using resources sparingly. Excessive consumption in our society has a major impact on the environment. This is why I think it is extremely important to encourage people to use goods more sustainably and to be more aware of what they consume. Our social responsibility to be sustainable is a true passion of mine.

Timertie Yosief is sitting at his desk. He is looking at his computer.
Timertie Yosief works in an open-plan office and can choose a different desk every day. (Copyright: Nora Grütter Shobha)

The next logical step: from university to the CR trainee programme

Even during my graduate internship, I could clearly see at first hand the benefits of the trainee programme. Compared with other trainee programmes, I particularly like the fact that the Swiss Post programme offers a deep enough insight into its different business units through the nine-month placements. I was also impressed by the development opportunities, the high degree of self-determination and the opportunities you have to speak to other trainees. Swiss Post invests a lot in highly motivated staff members, who are the basis of its dynamic culture and its success.

My daily routine as a CR trainee

My main tasks include upcycling and work integration. As part of its campaign “A second lease of life for Swiss Post clothes”, Swiss Post works with the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) in the Bern-Mittelland district. The SRC ensures that old Swiss Post clothing is reused. One thing the SRC staff do is remove the labels on Swiss Post clothing in order to protect the Swiss Post brand. The clothing can then occasionally be sold in second-hand shops.

Upcycling is a very important topic for Timertie Yosief and the whole CR departement. (Copyright: Nora Grütter Shobha)

Some clothes (albeit a very small number at present) end up in the sheltered BEWO workshop. These are clothes that cannot be sent to second-hand shops due to brand protection, for instance the softshell jacket with the neon branding on the back. The staff at BEWO cut out small bags and laptop covers from the old Swiss Post clothing, and so, instead of ending up in the bin, old Swiss Post clothes are transformed into unique products. This means Swiss Post saves on valuable resources and brings its work clothes full circle: from fair-trade production right through to meaningful repurposing. This project is a key step in one of the CR areas of action: circular economy.

My core task: professional (re)integration

When I say “professional integration”, I’m talking about the (re)integration of people within or outside of Post CH Ltd. Specifically, individuals who are excluded from the working process due to physical or mental impairments. Initiatives are already underway in the different Swiss Post units, though they are still relatively uncoordinated. We have made it our goal to address this situation so that, ideally, we can take action across the board.

Timertie Yosief sits on a sofa with a colleague. They are smiling and relaxed. (Copyright: Nora Grütter Shobha)

One of Swiss Post’s core tasks: sustainability

As a major corporation, Swiss Post transports lots of goods and people every year, which is why sustainability is such an important issue. Swiss Post recognizes this responsibility and implements a number of measures to boost CO2 efficiency. Examples of this are the increasing numbers of electric vehicles being used for deliveries, as well as the use of renewable energy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. A testament to Swiss Post’s social commitment is the fact that it promotes a healthy work/life balance.

Personally, I would like to see Swiss Post become a role model in society as a socially responsible company, and I would also like it to create the necessary framework to become an inclusive company. There is still some way to go until this can become reality. Due to digitization and automation in the world of work, employees are faced with increasingly tough demands and there are fewer and fewer positions that involve handling routine tasks. This trend is resulting in new problems (which for the most part have not yet been recognized as problems) that will pose major challenges for Swiss social policy as a whole.

My sustainability tips

  • Before I go on holiday, I put anything I haven’t used into the Madame Frigo fridges.
  • I use my laptop, mobile phone, tablet and PC for as long as possible in order to improve my carbon footprint. I have had my phone since 2012 and have only had to change the battery once to date.
  • Rather than buy new things, I exchange things.
  • When I’m not using an extension lead, I turn it off or unplug it entirely. After all, even just leaving things on standby uses electricity!
  • I travel by train or bus, not by car.
  • I recycle leftovers and am a careful shopper.
  • I take my own bag when I go shopping and avoid plastic bags.
  • I buy regional and seasonal products.
  • Before I buy anything new, I ask myself whether I really need it. A lot of things are bought on impulse and then used maybe once, before ending up in the attic or a cupboard. Is the product something you will keep using, or will you use it just the once? Could you also ask a friend or neighbour to lend one to you?

(Images copyright of Nora Grütter Shobha)

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Timertie Yosief